News: People

Merrill's private equity head resigns
Merrill Lynch's head of private equity and research, Tom Davis, has resigned but will stay with the firm until 1 November.

The long-standing Merrills man – Davis joined the firm 25 years ago – has not revealed what he intends to do next but the move comes as no surprise to some within the firm who felt that he was disappointed not to win the succession race with Stan O'Neal to become the new president of the firm.

Although Davis' appointment eight months ago was heralded as an indication of the investment bank's renewed commitment to private equity, it remained unclear how this strategy was going to unfold.

Davis will now help find a replacement to cover each or both of his roles whilst advising on research policy and its application.

Cullinan takes charge of RBPE
Royal Bank of Scotland has completed an overhaul of its Royal Bank Private Equity operations that will see the division folded into what the bank calls the Equity Finance Group (EFG). The restructuring comes after weeks of industry-wide speculation that changes at RBPE were imminent.

The bank's new division will be headed by Rory Cullinan, who joined the bank in 2001 to establish the principal finance unit. Former RBPE chief executive Mark Nicholls becomes EFG vice chairman.

RBS has stated that the overhaul is an attempt to combine its private equity businesses rather than an attempt to retreat from the asset class. In December 2000, RBPE relaunched itself after receiving a commitment from RBS of £1.5bn for 2001-2003. It subsequently built a new team, which included 20 new investment executives, to work across a range of private equity disciplines.

The new strategy makes RBPE the latest captive private equity operation to be revamped. Last year similar changes were implemented at UBS' private equity unit UBS Capital and Deutsche's Morgan Grenfell.

Ansbacher moves into PE fund administration
International financial services provider Ansbacher has signalled its intention to expand its private equity fund administration services with the announcement that Barry Carroll is to head up the firm's Fund Services division. Carroll joins the firm from Bank of Bermuda where he was vice president and private equity product manager.

He will co-ordinate Ansbacher's current portfolio of funds as well as overseeing the firm's concerted move in to private equity fund administration. Ansbacher currently provides back office services for a small number of private equity funds through its client-base that includes US fund manager Fidelity.

Ansbacher is looking to establish itself as a major player in the private equity fund administration sector at a time when outsourcing is becoming a more viable option for smaller and medium sized funds.

Duke Street grows LBO team
Duke Street Capital Debt Management (DSCDM) has recruited Martin Horne to its European LBO team. Horne will become an associate director and will be responsible for originating and carrying out deals within the European market.

Horne joins DSCDM from Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, where he was a vice president in the firm's European leveraged team. This team specialised in lead arranging and underwriting senior, mezzanine and high yield debt facilities for financial sponsor driven LBOs.